Greenhouse By Muir @ Ampang

May 15, 2015

Swarming with trees & swathed in sunshine, swimming with seafood & suffused in tea, Greenhouse by Muir - situated beside Gleneagles Hospital - is one of this month's most attractive new F&B destinations, saturated with ideas & steeped in intrigue.

Nearly 10 months in the making, Greenhouse By Muir was built on vacant land in Ampang with a nod to the preservation philosophies of the 1800s Scottish-American naturalist John Muir. This three-level space will be home to multiple concepts - Kuroshio Market (a Japanese food hall) & Evendough Bakery Cafe opened this week, while Minu (a contemporary Japanese restaurant) & Brycg (a New Orleans-inspired eatery) should launch upstairs by August. Greenhouse could turn into a hive of activity; farmers' markets may eventually be hosted in its outdoor compound, where fruit trees have been planted for produce.

Greenhouse's current centrepiece is Kuroshio Market's seafood-on-ice section; customers can choose everything from fresh king crab to clams, salmon to sea bass, plus Canadian oysters shucked to order, & select their preferred preparation - sashimi or grilled may be the most obvious options. Prices seem reasonable - purchase prudently & a meal here will cost below RM50.

Moving deeper into the restaurant, you'll find a selection of warm cooked offerings - familiar fare, from gyoza to takoyaki, ebi furai to soft-shell crab karaage, chicken teriyaki to unagi kabayaki to saba shioyaki, replenished regularly throughout the day. Customers can eat in or take away at wallet-friendly rates; two of us shared a box of tender chicken katsu, five prawn tempura pieces & two potato korokke - a light lunch clocking in at RM24. The food proved competently prepared, with pleasing flavours.

The final component of Kuroshio Market is the ready-to-eat sashimi, salad & sushi roll corner, with everything packaged for convenience, mostly costing between RM10 & RM20-plus per set. However, you might also be able to ask the chefs to make personalised maki for you, stuffed with the likes of eel or soft-shell crab. Note however that seating is relatively limited; a communal table indoors will accommodate fewer than 30 patrons, though alfresco seating should be introduced soon. Parking might also be problematic during the daytime, but Greenhouse's team says it's working on ways to ease these issues.

At the back of the building, a small space awash with natural light is dedicated to baskets of baked goodies - Evendough offers seaweed cheese buns (RM6.36; our favourite, with nicely balanced flavours), chocolate-cake-in-bread (RM5.83; it matches its description completely), Japanese curry buns stuffed with beef & carrots (RM6.36), cranberry-&-red-wine fermented dough loaves (RM7.42) & much more. Most are soft & fluffy - samplings are available to help folks decide which ones to purchase.

Evendough's cakes also display a distinctive panache, with intriguing temptations like green tea opera slices, red velvet gateaus, Valrhona chocolate hazelnut cakes & lemon mascarpone tarts. There's also a retail stretch with a meticulously curated collection of jams, chutneys, seed oils & various preserves to check out (apple sauce & orange marmalade for us!).

 After all that exploration, quench your thirst with Greenhouse's speciality tea concoctions - highlights include cold-brew tea with a concentrated flavour (RM8.48), Steampunk-brewed loose leaf tea (RM13.78) & delicious iced tea (RM13.25; we like the sweet-sour, slightly carbonated Mangofull & the wake-up-call of the Energinger with ginger & passion fruit, but there are many other varieties to sip). Bottled cold-press juices & craft beer are sold too. All in all, Greenhouse By Muir's a very interesting visit - many thanks to the friendly operations team of Moses, Ron & Han for taking the time & effort to help us tour their terrific site.

Greenhouse by Muir
1 Jalan Nipah, Off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
Open daily. Closed Monday, May 18.
Evendough Café (10am – 10pm), Evendough Bakery (11am-10pm), Kuroshio Market (11am-10pm)

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